Wristcutters: A Love Story
Road Film With a Bite

Wristcutters: A Love Story is a quirky, tongue-in-cheek clever idea of a movie. The premise is that there is a netherworld or way station for suicide victims. The place looks like LA, and existence there is just like it is in life—“only worse.” The idea that this place exists at all is pretty funny.

With a good cast and an extremely low budget, the movie is really a joy to watch. I left the theatre with a smile on my face. Perhaps I have the quirky sarcastic sense of humor that this film does; but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I thought to myself: if I were ever going to make a movie, this is the kind I would make.

Perhaps I am a sucker for “small,” independent films. But I maintain the theory that in film, it is the actors that make a story worth experiencing. I like the blockbuster Star Wars / Indiana Jones / Die Hard style of movie as much as the next guy; but I really appreciate these thoughtful and cleverly-done low-budget films which emphasize acting over flash. Wristcutters more than upholds my theory.

Shannyn Sossamon as Mikal in Wristcutters

If any of you ever saw Primer from a few years back and enjoyed that, this is your kind of film. It doesn’t have as much of a mind-bending time-travel plot as Primer, but it is equally intelligent and teaches a similarly valuable lesson.

Zia is a depressed young man who commits suicide to escape his unhappy life. He kind of selfishly rationalizes his decision by imagining how much his girl friend Desiree will miss him. Apparently, it is his parents that trump his view of life. So he cuts his wrists and dies and goes to purgatory; or as most of us know it: Kamikaze Pizza (you’ll have to see the movie).

Unfortunately, the afterlife isn’t a whole lot different than the previous life. In fact… “Everything is the same here, just worse.” Zia befriends a Russian rock-and-roller who committed suicide by pouring beer on his guitar during a concert. “It was sensational!”

These two set out on a road trip when Zia hears that Desiree offed herself and should be somewhere near. During this trip they meet Mikal, who is there by mistake. She joins them in hopes of finding the PIC (People in Charge) so she can return to earth.

The premise here lends itself to so many clichés and innuendos. A really funny scene is when Mikal and Zia sleep on the beach and wake up covered with syringes and used condoms. That would be hell. But it is an hilarious scene. Another hilarious scene is the cop. He committed suicide during Vietnam. Wait till he takes off his helmet! Everyone has scars as proof of their style of offinghood. Mikal, of course, is unblemished because she just had an accidental overdose. This should be enough of loophole to send her back to the world of the Pre. Site gags and plenty of clever lines make for an entertaining and thought-provoking film.

Look for funny lines and irony. Look for a good time. Look for the underlying theme. It is a sort of road film with a bite. I would characterize this film as a mixture of Garden State quirkiness and Primer intelligence. The important theme is the utter selfishness of suicide. Belittling the self-consumed ones who consider suicide may be just the impetus they need to realize their destructive thought-life and reverse their course.

Just go see it. You will find some funny and insightful stuff. And for what it’s worth, you will understand the kind of humor I appreciate.

Wristcutters: A Love Story is rated R for “themes and language.” Skip all that; it is really funny. I would caution that it does sort of deconstruct the cause of suicide, so know your kids before you take them.

Courtesy of a local publicist, Mike attended a press screening of Wristcutters: A Love Story.